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Joshua 3-4 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Crossing the Jordan

Joshua started early the next morning and left the Acacia Grove[a] with all the Israelites. They went as far as the Jordan and stayed there before crossing. After three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God carried by the Levitical priests, you are to break camp and follow it. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards[b] between yourselves and the ark. Don’t go near it, so that you can see the way to go, for you haven’t traveled this way before.”[c]

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, because the Lord will do wonders among you tomorrow.” Then he said to the priests, “Carry the ark of the covenant and go on ahead of the people.” So they carried the ark of the covenant and went ahead of them.

The Lord spoke to Joshua: “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so they will know that I will be with you just as I was with Moses. Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant: When you reach the edge of the water,[d] stand in the Jordan.”

Then Joshua told the Israelites, “Come closer and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” 10 He said: “You will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hethites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites 11 when the ark of the covenant of the Lord of the whole earth goes ahead of you into the Jordan. 12 Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. 13 When the feet[e] of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of the whole earth, come to rest in the Jordan’s water, its water will be cut off. The water flowing downstream will stand up in a mass.”

14 When the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carried the ark of the covenant ahead of the people. 15 Now the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest season. But as soon as the priests carrying the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water at its edge 16 and the water flowing downstream stood still, rising up in a mass that extended as far as[f] Adam, a city next to Zarethan. The water flowing downstream into the Sea of the Arabah—the Dead Sea—was completely cut off, and the people crossed opposite Jericho. 17 The priests carrying the ark of the Lord’s covenant stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel crossed on dry ground until the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan.

The Memorial Stones

After the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua: “Choose twelve men from the people, one man for each tribe, and command them: Take twelve stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan where the priests[g] are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.”

So Joshua summoned the twelve men he had selected from the Israelites, one man for each tribe, and said to them, “Go across to the ark of the Lord your God in the middle of the Jordan. Each of you lift a stone onto his shoulder, one for each[h] of the Israelite tribes, so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ you should tell them, ‘The water of the Jordan was cut off in front of the ark of the Lord’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s water was cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.”

The Israelites did just as Joshua had commanded them. The twelve men took stones from the middle of the Jordan, one for each[i] of the Israelite tribes, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the camp and set them down there. Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle[j] of the Jordan where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing. The stones are still there today.

10 The priests carrying the ark continued standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the Lord had commanded Joshua to tell the people, in keeping with all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people hurried across, 11 and after everyone had finished crossing, the priests with the ark of the Lord crossed in the sight of the people. 12 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh went in battle formation in front of the Israelites, as Moses had instructed them. 13 About forty thousand equipped for war crossed to the plains of Jericho in the Lord’s presence.

14 On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they revered him throughout his life, as they had revered Moses. 15 The Lord told Joshua, 16 “Command the priests who carry the ark of the testimony to come up from the Jordan.”

17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up from the Jordan.” 18 When the priests carrying the ark of the Lord’s covenant came up from the middle of the Jordan, and their feet[k] stepped out on solid ground, the water of the Jordan resumed its course, flowing over all the banks as before.

19 The people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and camped at Gilgal on the eastern limits of Jericho. 20 Then Joshua set up in Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan, 21 and he said to the Israelites, “In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ 22 you should tell your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up before us until we had crossed over. 24 This is so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1 Or left Shittim
  2. 3:4 Lit 2,000 cubits
  3. 3:4 Lit yesterday and the day before
  4. 3:8 Lit waters of the Jordan
  5. 3:13 Lit soles of the feet
  6. 3:16 Alt Hb tradition reads mass at
  7. 4:3 Lit feet of the priests, also in v. 9
  8. 4:5 Lit shoulder according to the number
  9. 4:8 Lit Jordan according to the number
  10. 4:9 Or Now Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle
  11. 4:18 Lit and the soles of the feet of the priests
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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